PSYCHOLOGISTS FOR AN ETHICAL APA
To Stop APA’s Participation in Unlawful Military Interrogations
We are writing to invite you to join us in righting a dreadful wrong. You may not be aware that the American Psychological Association has, for the last few years, taken a stance on participation of psychologists in military interrogations that we feel we must stand up and oppose – immediately.
It is now clear that psychologists and psychology were directly and officially responsible for the development and use of techniques defined by the ICRC as “tantamount to torture.” A recently declassified August 2006 report by the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General confirms that psychologists trained and consulted to Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCT) in methods of psychological torture to be used in interrogations at Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have both taken ethical positions by declaring that there is no legitimate role for its members in consulting to the U.S. military in unlawful detention sites such as Guantanamo,. Yet, astonishingly, the American Psychological Association alone has held fast to what we see as an unacceptable stance, that psychologists may participate in assisting with interrogations, even when those interrogations violate international law. True, the APA has condemned torture, but it has openly and deliberately promoted the use of psychologists at these detention facilities with the justification that psychologists’ presence leads to “ethical interrogations.” We strongly believe there is no such thing as an ethical interrogation in the context of facilities operating outside the bounds of international law.
So what can we do? Many APA members have tried over recent years to change APA policy on this issue, but to no avail. Some of us are withholding our dues in protest. Right now we have a chance to mobilize our community to bring the protest to APA’s door. From August 17-20, 2007. the 150,000 member APA will be holding its annual convention in San Francisco, and our ad hoc group, Psychologists for an Ethical APA, is planning protest activities both inside and outside the convention sites in order to put pressure on APA to end its participation in human rights violations and to return to an unequivocal commitment to our first and foremost ethical principle: Do No Harm.
Our plan is as follows: We will have volunteers distributing leaflets and carrying banners and placards at the three convention sites – SF Hilton, Marriott SF, and Moscone Center, South and West – for as many hours as possible during the four days of meetings. Most importantly, we will be holding a rally outside the South Entrance to the Moscone Center on Saturday, Aug. 18, from noon to 1 or 1:30, and are beginning to line up speakers and performers for that event.
What can you do to help?:
1. Join us in co-sponsoring the rally
2. Come to the rally, and bring friends, families, and colleagues.
3. Join in the leafleting and informational protest at the convention sites during the four days of the convention.
4. Make a donation.
5. Help us in any other way you would like; we welcome your thoughts.
If you would like to learn more about APA’s postion on military interrogations,, we suggest visiting the website www.withholdapadues.com. You can also contact Ruth Fallenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate or just want to know more about what we are doing and why we are doing it. To make a donation, write a check to “Psychologists for an Ethical APA,” and send to Ruth Fallenbaum or Rachael Peltz, 3120 Telegraph Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94705.
Psychologists for an Ethical APA
Neil Altman, Ph.D.
Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, Ph.D.
Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D.
Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D
Ruth Fallenbaum, Ph.D.
Rachael Peltz, Ph.D.
Tom Rosbrow, Ph.D.
Alice Shaw, Ph.D.
Partial list of co-sponsors:
Robert J. Lifton
American Friends Service Committee-SF
California Physicians Alliance
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Berkeley
Survivors International, San Francisco
Institute for Labor and Mental Health, Oakland
Institute for Redress and Recovery
Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California
Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club
Copyright 2007, Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology<http://www.ncspp.org/>. All rights reserved.